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Goodman launches new season by honoring two of its best

Friends and supporters of the Goodman Theatre toasted its 2013-14 season launch Tuesday with a special celebration — prior to the official opening of Chicago native Cheryl L. West’s “Pullman Porter Blues.”

Special honorees were the musical play’s director Chuck Smith who was thrilled to be helming his 20th show in his 20th year at Goodman. Also honored was the theater company’s executive director Roche Schulfer — himself celebrating his 40th season as a member of the Goodman staff, rising from box office employee to the top of the hierarchy, where he leads the company along with artistic director Robert Falls.

The gracious Smith credited his success to being in the “right place, at the right time, with the right people — and able to make the most of it.”

Schulfer reminded the 500 assembled guests at the Standard Club ballroom that theater, like all “art is not elitist, but is what makes us human” and is “essential to the life of our community.”

†Among the Chicago Who’s Who on hand for the festivities were opening night chair Les Coney, Maria and Albert Goodman, Paul Dykstra and Spark Cremin, Vicki Hood, Steve Traxler, Natalie Lavoie, Marcia Cohn, Joan and Bob Clifford, Ruth Ann Gillis and Michael McGinnis, Patricia Cox, Neal Zucker, Desiree Rogers, Sondra and Denis Healy, Ray Drymalski, Kathy Fox, Linda Hutson, Jim Oates, Rod and Keith Goldstein, Linda and Peter Bynoe, Carol Prins and John Hart.